Police decommission officer who left scene of car accident

Thursday, January 20, 2011 at 4:44pm

A Metro police officer has been decommissioned, pending an investigation, after allegedly backing his patrol car into another car and leaving the scene.

According to police spokesman Don Aaron, Lt. Tim Durham was working a secondary employment assignment involving the procession of the Ringling Bros. Circus elephants down Broadway to the Bridgestone Arena when he backed into the other vehicle before continuing on to work the procession.

A midday Twitter post (read here) first brought the incident to light, with later postings showing photos of the patrol car with a minor dent near the back left taillight as well as damage to a parked white Pontiac Grand Am.

Thursday afternoon, Aaron told The City Paper via email that Durham radioed a supervisor explaining what had happened and requesting an officer to work the incident.

Durham’s supervisor took over the procession assignment and told Durham to return to the scene of the wreck. On-duty officers responded to work the wreck.

Aaron said the department decommissioned Durham Thursday afternoon “pending a full review of this matter.” Durham will be assigned to a desk job within the department during that investigation.

9 Comments on this post:

By: CrimesDown on 1/20/11 at 8:18

I'm not sure, exactly, what his assignment was, but from what the story described, he wasn't trying to get away with being at fault in a wreck. With the limited information, it sounds like he used common sense and continued with his escort, and notified his supervisor. When advised to return, he did, and the property damage wreck was documented. I suspect, the policy is written, that he should not have moved after he backed into the car. I'm thinking getting a circus parade, including elephants to their destination, would be important also, especially in downtown traffic. If he violated policy, it seems to be minor, considering the circumstances. Why would they take his gun and badge, while they were investigating this minor incident? I was advised by a friend that the Lt. doesn't drink or use drugs, so the department's actions seem extreme.

By: CrimesDown on 1/20/11 at 8:27

One more thing....Don't tweet and drive.

By: richgoose on 1/21/11 at 8:33

I love it!

By: Antisocialite on 1/21/11 at 10:35

If he violated policy, it seems to be minor, considering the circumstances. Why would they take his gun and badge, while they were investigating this minor incident?

I'm sure there is a hard-line policy that when any police officer is under investigation he/she is decommissioned for the duration of the investigation and trial (if there is one).

By: DREIFMA on 1/21/11 at 12:34

I wish I had a video camera attached to my dashboard so I could catch all the crazy things police do in their cars, especially state police in pursuit of the dreaded speeder. Things like crossing the median, cutting across the on coming lane traffic with cars coming at closure rates exceeding 140MPH just to go up the down entrance ramp and sit next to 2 other parked state police cars. Then we have the ever popular sitting in the median blacked out at night when he pulls out on to the highway without putting any lights on as I am about to crash into him. Laying on the horn elicited a crazed look from the state police officer who decided to put on his driving lights and emergency lights shortly there after. There is a certain amount of hypocrisy to handing out speeding tickets when you drive like that.

With the tighter budgets, I think we will see a spike in speeding tickets to prove we have a need for the state police. My position is to integrate the state police into the local police so that when a call comes in for help, they can then respond to it. They need to stay off of the interstates. Other than speeding tickets, they just dont provide much of a service there, they cant even keep people from driving in the left hand lane which results in people performing risky maneuvers to get around them. I believe the new term for this type of driving is "aggressively". Of course if they would keep the slow traffic out of the left lane, they other would not happen. Its so insane. We create a new offence because the state police are not doing their job.

We also need to start improving our train infrastructure to remove many of the tractor trailer trucks off the the road. The trucks are inefficient, dependent on cheap fuel and dangerous. They do provide the just in time delivery that businesses seek, but high energy costs are going to negate the gain there. Trains are the cheapest form of transport for bulk deliveries. Use the trucks in the cities to deliver from the rail yard to the retail outlets and warehouses. It would save us billions in road repairs, cut down on accidents and reduce fuel costs.

By: zmania on 1/21/11 at 3:51

Let me get this straight. Was he working a second job while operating a metro police car? If so, metro needs to seriously do away with that policy asap. I guess we'll pay for the damages too.

As far as the accident goes, he should not have left the scene. Anyone else would've been cited for this. Besides, he wasn't on duty. Durham should be treated like any other person who broke the law, including going before a judge. Its only fair."Z"

By: yogiman on 1/21/11 at 4:05

I've often wondered why the ones in police cars can exceed the speed limit when they are not in pursuit of someone. Are they simply in a hurry to catch up to a speeder?

By: jermscentral on 1/22/11 at 9:25

zmania: Police officers can be "hired" outside their normal duty hours to do escorts or work events as official police officers. The city is paid for the "rental" of the officer, and the officer receives a certain amount for the extra hours that aren't officially overtime.

yogiman: I actually asked an officer that a few weeks ago. They aren't necessarily hurrying to catch up to a speeder, and they are often responding to a call that cannot have them turning on their lights and sirens. If they are responding to a robbery-in-progress or a rape or some other event where the lights/sirens would give away their position and allow the criminal to flee before the officer arrives, they will drive without signals and get there as fast as possible to make sure the criminal is apprehended before he has a chance to get away.

By: numenlumen on 1/22/11 at 10:28

yogiman, you ought to be happy the state police drive over the speed limit. If they drove only the speed limit, every ninny on the road would slow down to five miles an hour below the speed limit to keep from passing them. This is asinine, but it's how many drivers behave. So thank them for not snarling traffic any more than they do.